Why My (Potential) Unicorn is Bigger Than Yours
Or, how to make a $680+ million mistake
I’m going to tell you two stories. The first is about Oliver Peoples, a brand that you’re probably familiar with. Launched in 1987 by founder and creative director Larry Leight, the brand quickly made a name for themselves with their beautiful retro-inspired designs and distinctively Californian aesthetic. They were later acquired by Oakley for $46.7 million. (Oakley was acquired soon thereafter by Luxottica for $2.1 billion.) Not too bad for Oliver Peoples, right?
Now I’m going to tell you about Marchon. You probably haven’t heard of them, but you’ve definitely heard of the brands they make eyewear for — Calvin Klein, Coach, Nike, Oscar de la Renta… The list goes on. In 2008, about two years after Oakley’s acquisition of Oliver Peoples, Marchon was acquired by VSP for $735 million.
I’m telling you this because over the past few months of fundraising for eponym, many investors we met along the way wanted to invest in an Oliver Peoples. We’ve just closed our Series A funding round at $7 million — and if there’s anything I’ve learned in the last few months from this, it’s that some investors simply can’t see the potential of this market. We’re not an Oliver Peoples, or like any direct to consumer business. These are monobrands — and monobrands can only be as big as just that: one single brand. Can you name any consumer brands that have double digit market share in their vertical? I can think of only Nike. We’re a Marchon: a multibrand. We’ve got several incredible brands under our belt, and there’s room for even more.
So thank you to Tenfore Holdings (including Managing Partner Dan Levine, who’s joined our board), Tribeca Venture Partners, RiverPark Ventures, Western Technology Investment for understanding what we’re doing here. We’re doing incredible things with some of the best brands in the world.